Is the Tide Turning in Favor of Christmas?

This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," November 30, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.

Watch "The O'Reilly Factor" weeknights at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. ET and listen to the "Radio Factor!"

BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "Religion Under Siege" segment tonight: We've been reporting, as you know, on the many attempts to diminish Christmas throughout America. Now it's time to look at the other side. Millions of Americans are fed up, angry that Christmas is under siege by secular forces, and some are fighting back.

Joining us now from Raleigh, North Carolina, Pastor Patrick Wooden, a Pentecostal minister. And from Phoenix, Arizona, Mike Johnson, a senior legal counsel at the Alliance Defense Fund.

Mike, we'll begin with you. You just won a nice victory in Louisiana. Tell us about that.

MIKE JOHNSON, SENIOR LEGAL COUNSEL, ALLIANCE DEFENSE FUND: We did, Bill, thanks to you. You've really started a national movement.

The message here is that this is easy to do. When Americans are willing to stand up against these ridiculous attacks on Christmas, we can win. We're winning in courts from coast to coast.

In Louisiana, the ACLU sued an elementary school because they had the audacity, Bill, to put a nativity scene display in the library. What they did not mention in the lawsuit was that before any student could actually view this nativity cloth, a two-by-two-foot tapestry, they had to first walk through a commons area where there was a menorah display, a Kwanzaa display, and a display for a Mexican bilingual holiday, so it was a completely multicultural celebration. But none of that offended the ACLU. It was simply this nativity scene.

We faced them down. We represented the school district free of charge, and the ACLU walked away with a "take nothing" judgment. It just goes to show you that when Americans are willing to stand up, we can win.


JOHNSON: They have 850 lawyers, Bill.

O'REILLY: Yes. Got to go, what is it or is that what it is?

JOHNSON: That's right. Or


JOHNSON: ... on the facts. That's right. We've got 850 lawyers, Bill, willing to do this free of charge...


JOHNSON: ... who will defend the traditional celebration of Christmas.

O'REILLY: And other ACLU incursions against, you know, Christianity and every other religion.

JOHNSON: That's right.

O'REILLY: I mean, that organization has to be confronted, and it is being confronted by your organization and others.

Now, pastor, why I wanted you on the program is that you're a great example of a grassroots guy. Mike is a national guy. He's doing this all over. But you have rallied your congregation in Raleigh, North Carolina, to do what?

PASTOR PATRICK WOODEN, STARTED AD CAMPAIGN SUPPORTING CHRISTMAS: Well, to encourage the Christian buying public and Americans to patronize those businesses that include "Merry Christmas" in their holiday promotions.

We're not about excluding any other celebration. We're not offended by "Happy Hanukkah" or "Happy Kwanzaa." We just noticed that "Merry Christmas" is being excluded. And from where we — from my standpoint, they want our Christmas dollars without acknowledging the fact that most Christians do not celebrate the holidays; we celebrate the birth of Christ. So we want to see "Merry Christmas" in the stores.

O'REILLY: now have you, from the pulpit of your church, told your congregation not to shop at stores that don't say "Merry Christmas" pastor?

WOODEN: Sir, what we've actually said, we've encouraged the people to patronize, to reward those stores who...

O'REILLY: OK, so you put a positive spin on it. As Jesus would, right?


O'REILLY: I think that's great. So in the pulpit — I wish my priest would do this — in the pulpit you say, "Hey, you know, reward the people who are respectful of this celebration of Christmas," and you don't say don't buy from the others? You just emphasize the positive?

WOODEN: Yes. We emphasize the positive. We took out a full-page ad. We're doing television commercials and radio spots. For us, we see it as a calling...

O'REILLY: Good for you.

WOODEN: ... to reach people with this great message.

O'REILLY: Absolutely.

WOODEN: Christmas is as American as Mom's apple pie and the Fourth of July.

O'REILLY: Well, it's more than that. Christmas is an official holiday.

WOODEN: Yes, sir. Yes, sir.

O'REILLY: A federal holiday. Now, you've been attacked for doing this, pastor?

WOODEN: Yes, sir.

O'REILLY: What's happened?

WOODEN: Yes, sir. Well, I've been called everything from an Adolf Hitler to a bigot. But you know, Bill, you can't be thin skinned. I think that many of the people who have attacked me, however, are people who simply haven't read the ad that we ran.

O'REILLY: How did they attack you? Did they attack you in the media? Did they walk up — you're a big guy. They're not going to walk up to you.

WOODEN: No, they don't walk up to me. But in a column in the newspaper, in the media, some called the church various things. But some sent us hate mail. We get pretty bad e-mails. Various threats. But it's OK. We're just — we promote Christ. We believe that at Christmas time we should see displayed "Merry Christmas." To us, it's a no-brainer.

O'REILLY: I'm with you all the way.

WOODEN: Yes, sir.

O'REILLY: Now Mike, the pastor is one of, you know, millions — I don't know if it's millions, but let's say tens of thousands of religious figures who, if they all were like him, could just overwhelm the secular forces. Isn't that correct?

JOHNSON: That is exactly right. And we applaud what he's doing. That is exactly how to handle this in the private sector. And in the public sector, if these displays and traditional celebrations are challenged, like I said, we'll defend them free of charge.

See, the other side, Bill, has been engaged in these strategies of threats and intimidation. They want to silence people of faith. And unless people like the pastor are willing to stand up to this, they will secularize America.

O'REILLY: Yes, because I have never understood, and maybe the pastor can enlighten me. Pastor, as I said, you know, I'm a Roman Catholic. I do go to church as much as I can.

But I don't hear — I don't hear from my priests the same kind of engagement — I think that's the right word — on an issue that is vital, and I suspect that it's a sleeping giant in America, you know? You're out front, but not nearly enough clerics are. And why do you think that is?

WOODEN: Well, I'm not sure, but I will say that there's a growing number of people. I'm part of a group called, Called to Action, We are — we are 45,000 Americans who are working together in the Wake County area alone to promote Christ and Christmas and other agendas that we believe, that we hold dear.

There's a preacher friend of mine on the West coast who is — who is running ads. We have local ministers. So it's growing.

O'REILLY: All right. It's starting to build.

WOODEN: Yes, sir.

O'REILLY: It's starting to build.

WOODEN: It's beginning to build. Yes, sir.

O'REILLY: Yes. Gentlemen, thanks very much. We appreciate it.

WOODEN: Thank you for having me.

JOHNSON: Thanks, Bill. It's a pleasure.

O'REILLY: Merry Christmas to you guys.

JOHNSON: Merry Christmas to you.

O'REILLY: And we would like to you to vote in the poll. We are asking, will you shop at stores that do not say "Merry Christmas"? Will you shop at stores that do not say "Merry Christmas"?

This is a good time to also encourage you to buy from anybody who sponsors "The O'Reilly Factor" on the FOX News Channel and the "The Radio Factor." — I mean, they're stepping up and they're sponsoring us, so please patronize them.

Content and Programming Copyright 2005 Fox News Network, L.L.C. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Transcription Copyright 2005 eMediaMillWorks, Inc. (f/k/a Federal Document Clearing House, Inc.), which takes sole responsibility for the accuracy of the transcription. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No license is granted to the user of this material except for the user's personal or internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may infringe upon Fox News Network, L.L.C.'s and eMediaMillWorks, Inc.'s copyrights or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.